The Jordan line is constantly ahead of the game. It’s what makes Michael Jordan‘s sneakers unique. But the Air Jordan XX8 went way beyond expectations. The blank canvas, the zipper, the futuristic look. When the shoe was launched, most hit the dislike button. Yet there was an entirely different attitude this weekend at NBA All-Star when select media played in the XX8s during Jordan Brand‘s annual open run.
I was invited to a YMCA in downtown Houston on Sunday morning for some pickup, and was outfitted in the XX8s. I already gave you my opinion on the sneakers, and most seem inclined to see with their own eyes before deciding how they feel about them. But the shoes are incredible to play in. I always figured they’d look better in person – I hooped with them zipped nearly all the way up and the top flap down, with long socks on underneath – and that was apparent from the start. Overall, it was a great experience, playing in the same backcourt as Trinidad Jame$ and going up against people like Stalley, Wale and Big Tigger. The on-court play was pretty good, and Bun B actually brought in a group of teenagers from one of his inner city programs to play with us. I’m not sure they lost a game, going all “40 Minutes of Hell” on everyone there, full-court trapping, pressing, playing fast enough to turn me dizzy. The Jordan Open Run is always one of the highlights of All-Star Weekend, and this year was no different.
I was given a pair of the debut colorway of the XX8s – the clean black-based version with the volt inner bootie and accents. Russell Westbrook set Twitter on fire throughout the weekend by rocking some WILD new XX8 colorways (the “Why Not?” PEs are already legendary and even some of his more tame colorways still turned heads). But previously on Friday afternoon, I got a chance to check out Jordan’s showcase in The Galleria in Houston and there were many never-before-seen designs that blew my mind.
Along with a showcase of all 28 black-based Jordans from their #XX8DaysOfFlight campaign, there were also collections of unique colorways for Blake Griffin’s Jordan Super.Fly 2 and Chris Paul’s CP3.VI, as well as Jordan’s “Stealth” collection. I still spent most of my time staring at the XX8 colorways. There were a few based in reality, but just as many were incomparably creative. One in particular got its inspiration from coffee shops around Portland, and even featured real bamboo in the heel.
Westbrook’s “Why Not?” PEs caused a stir, but from the looks of Jordan’s showcase suite this weekend, it won’t be the last time that’ll happen with the XX8s.